Mexican cardinal calls on accused priest to turn himself in

.- The Archbishop of Mexico City, Cardinal Norberto Rivera, has called on a Mexican priest accused of pederasty in California to turn himself into police.

This week Joaquin Aguilar Mendez, a Mexican citizen, filed charges of pederasty in the Los Angeles Superior Court against Father Nicolas Aguilar, and with the help of the Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, accused the archbishops of Los Angeles and Mexico City of covering the abuse up.

According to some analysts, the case may be being used by anti-Catholic organizations to damage the reputation of Cardinal Rivera, since he was not Archbishop of Mexico City at the time when the alleged abuse took place.

"I ask that Father Nicolas Aguilar, wherever he may be, respond to the corresponding authorities for the terrible crimes he is accused of, for the good of his conscience and to avoid further damage to the church," Rivera said in a statement after Mass in the capital's cathedral.   He explained that the priest in question does not belong to his diocese and he rejected accusations that the bishops are shielding criminals.

The Episcopal Council of the Archdiocese of Mexico said the accusations against Cardinal Rivera were unjust.

In an article published in the archdiocesan newspaper, “Desde la Fe,” the Council called on Catholics not to be deceived and manipulated by those who, instead of seeking justice, are attempting to get rich off of the cardinal’s suffering.

“We are witnesses that Cardinal Rivera Carrera has always acted with great pastoral responsibility.  Since these crimes and unfortunate cases of pederasty began to be made know publicly, he has been firm in his condemnation of such aberrant conduct,” the Council said.

It emphasized that the cardinal has always asked his priests to prevent and avoid such deplorable incidents that affect not only the innocent victims but also their families and the faithful’s trust in their shepherds.  The Council reiterated that Cardinal Rivera was not Archbishop of Mexico when the alleged abuse took place, since it supposed happened in 1984, and Cardinal Rivera took over the archdiocese a year later in 1985.

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